If you watched the USA Women’s World Championship Soccer Games, you couldn’t have helped but see nutrition in action and marvel at the strength, power, and stamina of the talented women. They played for 90 minutes, followed by another 30 minutes of overtime. Talk about the importance of sports nutrition in supporting that effort!
There’s no question that soccer (like most team sports) is a “nutrition sport.” That is, soccer players need to eat well to get the most from their game time efforts. They have to--
--show up at practices and games well hydrated and well fueled,
--have carbs and fluids readily available during halftime to boost their dwindling stores,
--be prepared to play an additional half-hour if the game is tied.
You can’t do all that on a hit or miss sports diet.
I happen to know these ladies fuel their bodies well because many of them shared their nutrition tips for success in Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes From the Prosby myself and Gloria Averbuch. You can even find yummy date bars that Abby Wambach enjoys. And could you have guessed that one of Homare Sawa’s favorite foods is sushi? The helpful food tips from the nations’ top soccer players make the Food Guide for Soccer a book that not just interesting to read but is also helpful on the field, after the game, and when eating on the road.
This milkshake is even healthful because it is thickened with instant pudding powder instead of ice cream. The instant pudding powder adds a nice thick texture and the ice cubes make it frosty and refreshing. You can also add fruit (preferably frozen chunks) for extra nutritional value. It's perfect for a post-exercise recovery shake.
By varying the flavor of the pudding (vanilla, lemon, chocolate), you can create numerous variations. Note: The shake thickens upon standing; you can add more (or less) pudding mix, depending on how thick you like your shakes.
If there are pieces of ice cubes remaining in the shake, worry not—they’ll just keep the beverage cool.
1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup instant pudding powder
1/4 cup powdered milk
3 ice cubes
Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup (frozen) fruit chunks
Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
NO! Skipped menstrual periods commonly mean you are restricting your food intake and have a significant calorie imbalance...
At the American College of Sports Medicine’s recent convention in Denver (June 2011), researchers reported that among 44 female high school (16 y.o.) cross-country runners--
• 39% restricted food, thinking being lighter would help them perform better.
• 42% reported missed or absent menstrual periods in the past year.
The amenorrheic runners were eight times more likely to believe missing multiple periods was a sign they were in better shape. These young women need to be educated about the medical problems associated with missed menstrual periods! Amenorrhea is a sign they are jeopardizing their health. They are losing bone density and at three to four times risk for stress fractures today, followed by early osteoporosis in the future, and potential difficulty getting pregnant when they decide they want to conceive a child.
To resume menses, amenorrheic women need to correct the energy deficit by eating a little more fuel and exercising a little less. The amenorrheic high school runners who drank a 360-calorie carbohydrate-protein supplement resumed menses, on average, in about 2.5 months (±2 months). The longer they had been amenorrheic, the more time they needed to resume menses.
• If you need help balancing food, exercise, and weight, consult with a sports dietitian.